The Stresses of the ACT
February 5, 2020
Juniors will be taking the ACT during school on Tuesday, February 25th; for some, this session will be the first ACT they have ever taken. The American College Testing (ACT) is an intense four hour long achievement test that measures how much a student has learned throughout their time in high school, scored out of a possible 36 points. The test consists of four parts: English, mathematics, reading, and science; each section takes between thirty and sixty minutes. Taking the ACT is a crucial part of every high schooler’s life because their scores can be a determining factor in whether or not a student can receive an acceptance into their dream school. For some, the test helps determine if they can graduate from high school. However, the ACT can be difficult because students feel harsh pressure to score well, and the amount of studying required can be strenuous. Many students do not even know where to start in order to be prepared for this daunting test.
Based on my personal experience, a great place to begin studying is the ACT Academy. You can access this by simply logging into www.act.org. Once logged in, you have access to many helpful study tools. The ACT Academy sets up a day-by-day plan, so you can study certain topics each day. For example, one day can focus on geometry. The Academy will provide videos discussing various important topics that are needed for the ACT about geometry. After reviewing information from a certain topic, you can take a quiz on it, with questions similar to those that will be on the ACT. Using these study materials, you can spend only a small portion of your day studying with great results. Also, the ACT Academy allows you to take a full-length practice ACT, which may be good practice for when you have finished reviewing.
However, even if you study a significant amount of time, you may not succeed on the actual test. While taking the ACT it is important to remember the time; don’t spend too much time on one question even if you really want to. Those couple of minutes are precious and may cost you three more correct answers in the end. It’s more important to finish the whole test than to get the twenty questions you completed right. In addition to time management, being awake and focused is essential. It may sound cliché, but get at least eight hours of sleep the night before the ACT; you don’t want to accidentally doze off and wake up realizing you only have five minutes to finish the section you are on. Also, be sure to eat breakfast and bring a snack. The first time I took the ACT, I didn’t think a snack would be very important, which I later regretted. Bringing a snack to eat during the break can help immensely if you are feeling drained and unfocused after the first two sections.
Although the ACT seems impossible, with the right preparation and studying anyone can achieve a high enough score to get into their dream college; the only obstacle is your own motivation.